Saturday’s race was Richardson’s return to competition following her suspension from the Tokyo Olympics
Sha’Carri Richardson is no stranger to winning — at just 21 years of age, the native Texan is the sixth-fastest woman in the history of the 100-meter race and holds multiple under-20 titles. On Saturday, Richardson proved that even in defeat, she never loses the bold, charismatic spirit that has already won her the hearts of fans across the globe.
The star sprinter returned to competition at Saturday’s Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, her first race since being disqualified from the Tokyo Olympic Games for testing positive for THC in July.
Featuring in her signature 100-meter event, Richardson faced all three medalists from the Olympic 100-meter event in Tokyo — Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson — but came up short, finishing in last place with a time of 11.14 seconds.
Sha’Carri Richarson reacts after finishing last in the 100m race during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on August 21, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
“It was a great return back to the sport,” Richardson said in an interview with NBC’s Lewis Johnson after her loss. “I wanted to be able to come and perform having a month off, dealing with all I was dealing with.”
“I’m not upset with myself at all,” she added. “This is one race. I’m not done. You know what I’m capable of. Count me out if you want to. Talk all the s*** you want because I’m here to stay.”
“I’m not done. I’m the sixth-fastest woman in this game, ever, and can’t nobody ever take that away from me,” Richardson said with a smile on her face. “Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to the people that won, but they’re not done seeing me yet — period.”
Just like a month earlier at the Olympics, Jamaican women finished with the top-three fastest times. Thompson-Herah won the event with a personal best of 10.54 seconds, the second-fastest finish of all time, just .05 seconds slower than Florence Griffith Joyner’s world record of 10.49. Fraser-Pryce finished just behind her with a time of 10.73, narrowly besting Jackson’s personal-best-tying time of 10.76.
Not only did Saturday’s race feature all three Olympic 100-meter medalists, but included three other finalists from the Tokyo Games, the United States’ Teahna Daniels, Côte d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.
Daniels finished fourth in Eugene with a personal-best time of 10.83 seconds and Ta Lou in fifth with a time of 10.90. Kambundji and the United States’ Javianne Oliver followed, both crossing the finish line with a time 10.96.
Rounding out the back of the pack were Jamaica’s Brianna Williams, who finished eighth with 11.09 and Richardson in ninth. After a slow start out of the brakes, Richardson struggled to make up ground on the rest of the field.
Many had Richardson as their Olympic gold medal favorite after she won the 100-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials in June with a time of 10.84 seconds. At the Miramar Invitational in April, she ran a 10.72 — the sixth fastest women’s 100-meter time ever — which would have been good enough for second place in Tokyo.
Shortly after her trials win, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Richardson tested positive for cannabis, nullifying her trials time and landing her a 30-day suspension which caused her to miss the Olympics.
Despite the underwhelming return, Richardson shows no signs of quitting anytime soon. As she confidently declared at the end of her interview on Saturday, the world hasn’t seen the last of the young superstar yet — period.
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